UBCOB Ravens – February 2023

Ravens Dig Hole and Crawl Out to Win: Ravens 27 – Caps 18

by Peter MacDonald

On an intact Klahanie pitch with intermittent very light rain falling the Caps looked in mid-season form to start this game coming out of the winter break. The Ravens not so much. Some credit is due to the Ravens though for keeping the score to 15-0 Caps after 15 minutes as the Caps had all the ball and were firing forward pods and quick ball through the backs at them in waves. A saving tackle by Aaron McLelland and some big hits by centre Sean Pyle kept the Caps onslaught from getting completely out of control.

Mike Moloney at #10 for the Caps was orchestrating things with his tactical kicking, slick distribution, kicking at goal and one giant miss pass for a try. A Caps penalty goal followed by two tries wide left, where the Caps had numbers to spare, was how it went down before the Ravens settled in and got a touch of the ball.

The Ravens eventually came into the game and a counterattacking run from McLelland ended with Jeremy Simon knocking down a pass and picking up a yellow card. From there a kick to touch, lineout and maul put the Ravens on the board through hooker Mattias Suez at the back of the maul, 15-7 Caps at 22 minutes. The Ravens struggled to move the ball throughout the rest of the half with overly deliberate forward play, an inability to find gaps in the Caps backline and a series of knock-ons and other misadventures that handed the Caps extra possession. The Ravens were fortunate to end the half only down by three as at 38 minutes a quick penalty tap and chip kick recovered by winger Mark Wandeto led to a try in the left corner with Wandeto’s burst of speed and cornering on a soft pitch showing his class, 15-12 Caps at the half.

More ragged play and lineout issues dogged the Ravens as the second half progressed and a yellow card to Don Carson for misconduct at 47 minutes suggested more pain to come. But a bold seven man Raven substitution at the 50 minute mark and some brilliant running from right winger Cole Keffer began to right the ship. At 55 minutes man of the match Keffer, with little room to operate down the right sideline, cut inside in Arjen Robben like fashion leaving would be tacklers in his wake and scored with a dive under the posts, 19-15 Ravens.

A Caps penalty goal and a Ravens try on the overlap from a long miss pass scored by winger Marceau Bertin brought the score to 24-18 Ravens with 10 minutes to go. The six point lead was precarious and, while the Ravens had renewed energy through their subs and the Caps were perhaps tiring, it was anybody’s game. A saving one on one tackle by Noah Bain ended one Caps foray. After passing up one chance to kick at goal, the Ravens finally iced the game at 78 minutes with an Alex Ball penalty kick that split the uprights, 27-18 Ravens the final score.

The Caps played well putting the Ravens under heavy pressure early and were always in with a chance but the Ravens’ depth looked to be the difference on the day. The Ravens outscored the Caps 15-3 after the 50th minute substitutions. Joe Locke, Keenan Kayser and Jesse Mackail in particular in the forward subs made a mark on the game but as a group there was no drop off in play and plenty of energy. The usual suspects in the Ravens’ backs were contained but Keffer went off more than once and was a difference maker on the day.

Posted in BC Premier.

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